Boundaries, Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth, Self-Care

Meh, revisited

It’s interesting to see in my illustrations, perhaps some subconscious messages poking their little head into the sunlight. The kitty saying “Meh,” a perfectly reasonable and appropriate thing for a cat to say in popular culture’s telling of cats. But I could have said anything. Or nothing at all. Good ‘ol Beanie could have just napped on his couch:

Or a couple of days ago when this seal balanced the veritable world atop his nose–something like Altas performing at Sea World. I’ll say here for the record, “I like the work;” but I wonder is my sub-conscious getting grumpy? Perhaps my muse is sending up smoke signals?

A few days ago I scrawled down these words; “Every time I try to lower the stakes for myself, I want to raise them somewhere else.” When I consider doing fewer drawings each week a voice in my head says; “Great, then you can post everyday!” Or, “Great! That means you could do more detailed work!”

One of the voices in my head is a workaholic Tigger. The balanced, rational part of my mind knows I can’t do everything. The balanced, rational part of my mind defends my right to decide what is enough. Workaholic Tigger will always bounce back with an offer of more work.

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Boundaries, Imperfection

The New Game

At work recently, I’ve been angry. (My capital “W” Work is coaching people on their journey to hone their craft, their voice, and their mission, but I still earn most of my money in a restaurant serving tables. Covid-19 has changed that game).    

We used to staff five to seven people along with one or two bartenders every night, serving from two to four hundred people at the restaurant. Now we staff two to four people a night, and rarely serve more than one hundred people.  Most nights it’s fifty or less guests.  (We’re all have to make drinks). We’re essentially a new restaurant, but with the same name. Getting used to that new restaurant has been hard.   

The other night we scheduled two server/drink makers, but when the night started we had nearly sixty guests scheduled to come in, mostly between 7 and 8 PM. That’s a lot. Then more guests came in. I got overwhelmed and frustrated. Who wouldn’t? I was stuck in the rules of the old game. In the old game I attended to six tables and served three consecutive parties over about six hours. In the new game I’m given a dozen tables. I might serve four of them in an hour, or none of them, or all twelve.      

The old game says the new game is impossible.

The new game says figure it out and be happy I have an opportunity to try.

The new game isn’t fair, easy, or even vaguely doable according to the rules of the old game. But the old game doesn’t exist anymore. Getting angry won’t revive the old game, but it does make the new game nearly impossible to navigate, leaving me with one question, which hopefully leads to others: How do I play the new game successfully?   

Another new game is balancing creative work with the new-old restaurant game. I’m committed to showing up everyday. Some days I complete a project. Other’s I have to stick tags in the places I’d prefer to see completion:

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Boundaries, Inherent Self-Worth, Practice, Self-Care

Struggling with Quiet

As I’m writing this, it’s a quiet Sunday morning. Out my kitchen window I can watch the wind twiddle the leaves of a tree in my neighbors yard. I find quiet to be difficult to sit with, to enjoy. There are so many opportunities for noise, for filling my time with busyness.  

Today, after writing seven songs in seven days and launching a new forum to support the Fearless Songwriting community, I aim to enjoy, (or rather struggle) with the quiet, let myself be a bit bored—a little like a toddler struggling to avoid a nap.  

Boundaries, Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth

The Streak

Many websites and apps count streaks. In The Creative’s Workshop I recently completed, I showed up one day and my avatar had a little purple checkmark overlaid on it. Sort of like a gold star. It meant I’d shown up and posted every day for some number of days.

At some point it disappeared from my avatar. I missed a day of posting somehow. I broke the rule for showing up so I lost my purple check mark. Then, a few days after the workshop “ended” I avatars with a banner of a marathoner breaking the race ribbon. Still unsure how I’d lost my purple check mark, I felt jealous and a bit put out.

But what really changed? 

I was still proud of my work. I still made great connections with people in the group. I’m still showing up every day to do my work. I was certainly doing more than enough by my own standards. 

I bring it up because WordPress counts my streaks as well. I’ve currently posted 18 days in a row. Prior to that I’d gone on a 30 day streak. Every time my streak gets broken, I feel a twinge of regret. Yet, what is the point of the work? To be acknowledged by a computer algorithm or to find out what I can offer to others and learn by showing up?   

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Boundaries, Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth

Who’s Tallest?

I started my life looking up to people, literally. When I was born my closest sibling was five years my elder. My brother a towering ten years old.   

As I grew, I was always comparing myself to others. One of my biggest benchmark’s was growing taller than my mom. Eventually, I passed her. (I never grew taller than my dad).  

I would seem silly today to stand back to back with a peer and see who is taller. And yet, I’m constantly focused on who is better than me. Am I better than this person, or that person? And if I can’t beat someone in height, or talent, I’m nearly always looking for some other way in which I can best them. Maybe their smile is stupid, or they talk in a way that annoys me.

It’s a pretty human thing, this comparison. (I don’t do any of this out loud of course). And yet, wouldn’t it be preferable to simply let people be themselves?     

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